My beautiful friend, Diana.

I was talking to Diana after we’d just completed a Bikram yoga class that had started at 6am.

Some friends had given us both just the teensiest bit of shit for being willing to get up at 5am to make a 6am yoga class. There seemed to be a consensus that people who do things like juice, get up for early yoga classes, go to bed early, meditate, or attend empowerment workshops were a bit too straight-laced, and that doing such things made us into completely un-relatable human beings.

This struck me as a backlash effect that was not particularly…kind.

But here’s the thing: disheveled is not a credential. It is not more “authentic.” Choosing to put one’s messiness on display doesn’t make you any more real than touting a raw-foods-vegan-organic-sustainable lifestyle as being better than everyone else.

No one has it all together.

Really, what we’re talking about here is this: the ways in which people use the “this messy life” identity system to justify themselves as “better than.”

If someone owns that they’re messy and disheveled, beautiful.

If they take that on as an identity system and then use that to treat others in a condescending manner…that’s not so beautiful.

It’s the backlash thing. It’s snarky.

–Yeah. That’s not serving anyone any more than if someone were being arrogant and holier-than-thou about their master cleanse.

The Difference

Yes–there is something really powerful in owning where our vulnerabilities and weaknesses are. What I hear people say most often about when others expose their rough patches is that it makes it easier to accept their own–and that’s true for me, too.

The line blurs when it starts to either directly or energetically create divisions, with the “people who have it all together” on one side getting labeled as conceited or arrogant, while the crowd who views themselves as “more real because we don’t have it all together” on the other, using “disheveled” as some kind of credential for authenticity.

No one is winning at that game.

The so-called perfect bloggers, the advice columnists, the woman down the street who looks like a Stepford Wife…we do them a collective disservice when we do not fully “see” them for who they are, when we isolate away from them when we decide that in response to the illusion of perfection, betterness can be proven by displaying dishevelment as a new identity.

Authenticity is living your vision for your life, and that’s what you make it. Burn brightly, go forth with courage, own the disheveled bits with transparency as they arise, and–don’t make the flaws into yet another identity to disentangle from.